Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Navy boat keeps many illegals at bay: Chief

Sandakan: The number of foreign boats detected or attempted influx by illegals into the State's waters has seen a significant reduction since the auxiliary naval vessel, Tun Azizan, arrived at the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) here in June last year.

Navy Chief Admiral Datuk Seri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said he was happy with the performance of the vessel as a base for frontline operations.

"Numerous entry attempts by illegal foreigners have been stopped since the vessel took base in waters off here," he said during his visit to the vessel docked in Berhala waters, on Saturday.

"I am satisfied with the achievement which can be seen within just six months since she started operations here," he said.

He said the crew, apart from navy officers and personnel, also comprised those from the army and air force who joined forces to conduct round-the-clock surveillance in the nation's waters.

He said the vessel's presence has also boosted the confidence of the maritime community in the commitment of not only the navy but also the police and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in ensuring security in Sabah's waters.

Ahmad Kamarulzaman said the achievement should not be an excuse for them to rest on their laurels, adding that it should motivate them to continue being vigilant.

On another note, he said the deployment of additional vessels to the Esszone would strengthen maritime surveillance and enhance security in the East Coast.

Three vessels, including the auxiliary naval vessel Bunga Mas 5, have been placed in Semporna and Sandakan on Friday.

In an earlier event, Ahmad Kamarulzaman launched the 'Rakan Maritim' (Rakam) with Sandakan being picked as the first district to have Rakam in Sabah. The inaugural launching of Rakam was held in Kuantan, Pahang.

The event was held at the Sandakan Naval Base and attended by the maritime community, village chiefs, local leaders, Village Development and Security Committee chairmen and tourism operators.

He said 'Rakam TLDM' is a joint effort initiated with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the police, adding that with encouraging response, they hope to gain a network of collaboration between the navy, MMEA and the police with help from the maritime community.

He said the initiative allows the maritime community to channel information to the agencies involved for further investigations, adding that this includes informing them of any misconduct involving security personnel.

A dialogue session was also held during the ceremony involving 24 government agencies, village representatives, village chiefs, Village Development and Security Committee chairmen and tourism operators.

Among those who attended were Karamunting Assemblyman Charles O Pang, who was happy with the dialogue session and called on the community to be the eyes and ears of the security enforcement agencies. Also present was the Tun Azizan Commander Mohd Suhaimi Mustafa who pledged to continue the commitment in maintaining security. (Daily Express)

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